Following his "Fight of the Year" candidate against Timothy Bradley and subsequent destruction of Mike Alvarado, many had Ruslan Provodnikov pegged as one of the next big things in boxing's Light Welterweight division.
And early in his fight against the unheralded Chris Algieri tonight (Sat., June 14, 2014) on HBO Boxing, "Siberian Rocky" certainly looked the part, dropping the undefeated challenger twice in the opening frame. Not long after, though, Algieri showed both his toughness and boxing acumen, putting on what commentator Andre Ward described as a "clinic" for the remainder of their 12-round clash.
Though many feared that the "draw" would once again get the undeserved decision, the judges rightly granted him the win via split decision, two scores of 114-112 overriding a 109-117 card for Provodnikov.
This certainly complicates Top Rank's plans for the Siberian puncher, but with Algieri's win last night and Viktor Postol's recent defeat of Selcuk Aydin, there's a new breath of fresh air in the junior welterweight division and it will be interesting to see how it develops.
For now, though, enjoy some highlights courtesy of ESPN in the video player above.